Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Jail commission will webcast discussion on new standards

Another item from the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition newsletter that will be welcome news for those outside of Austin with an interest in the Commission on Jail Standards, which is more than a few folks:
Meeting on Jail Standards Revisions to Be Webcast

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards (Commission) will re-engage its initiative to update minimum jail standards.  To encourage ongoing interaction with key stakeholders throughout the process, the Commission will meet in a workshop session on November 2, 2011, at 2pm, in the John Reagan building, Room 120, to outline proposed changes.  The initial workshop session will discuss procedures and process, but NO action will be taken on these proposed changes at this workshop.
  • Click here for a list of the proposed changes. 
Since not everyone with a vested interest can attend the meeting, comments on any of the proposed changes should be sent to or faxed to 512-463-3185.

In addition, the Commission will be launching its first-ever webcast of the meeting.  It will be available online here!  Once you open the link, go to "Video Broadcasts" (right-hand column in gray, under "Legislative Activity") and open the "House" link.

In addition to viewing the workshop session through this link, you can also view the Commission's quarterly meeting on November 3, 2011, at 9am.

TCJS will continue to broadcast both workshop and regular quarterly meetings as its budget allows.
Some of the proposed changes (pdf) are interesting, including a provision to find jails non-compliant if they don't promptly respond to public information requests. Excellent suggestion! Another provision would "allow sheriffs to utilize peace officers in addition to jailers when inmates are outside the security perimeter." Many are technical changes holding little interest for reformers or jailers either one, but some are substantive so if you're professionally interested read the whole thing (pdf). Here's the agenda (pdf) for that meeting, which incidentally includes variances requested by the Harris County Jail among "new business," possibly related to the volume of inmates in pretrial detention who must be transported to court everyday. A webcast, particularly if they'll archive them, will make TCJS activities a lot easier to follow.

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